What Makes Water Taste Good?

We all know the feeling...taking a long sip from a glass of what we assume to be run-of-the-mill, humdrum water and tasting instead a liquid delight. There is nothing quite like the taste of good water--crisp, refreshing, sometimes sweet and so subtle that if you aren't paying attention, you may very well miss it all together.

Stages of antacid tablet being dissolved in a wine glass

(via ps50mm on Flickr)

So, what factors determine water taste? Four answers: Virginality, Vintage, Minerality and Orientation.


Virginality indicates how protected a water is from its surroundings. It is determined by the water’s level of nitrate. Nitrate is easily carried through soil by water, and this contamination may come animal waste products, decaying plant matter, septic tanks, etc.

The EPA regulates nitrate in drinking water to protect public health at 10 mg/liter.

Waiākea’s unique volcanic filtration process keeps these harmful contaminants away, giving it a superior rating in virginality with a nitrate level of only .59 mg/l.

This low nitrate level also has to do with its vintage.


Vintage indicates the age of the water before it is sourced. Waiākea is a young water that is constantly flowing and takes less than 30 days to arrive from where it originates on the Mauna Loa volcano. Very young waters like Waiākea don’t have much time to absorb as many minerals, nor contaminants as mentioned above, and thus it lends it a light, crisp, and clean taste.


The amount of minerals dissolved in water is indicated as total dissolved solids (tds). A water’s tds is made up of minerals such silica, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, and many others.

Waiākea has a tds of 79 that gives it a light, crisp taste that, unlike more significant tds mineral waters, can

be paired with almost all types of food. It is the particular combination of minerals, especially the presence of silica, that give it its silky smooth taste and mouthfeel.

Orientation (pH)

The orientation of water is its pH. The pH (for “potential hydrogen”) measures a substance’s level of acidity or alkalinity.

With a pH of 7.6-8.8, Waiākea lacks any sour or acidic taste that lower pH waters offer. This unique, naturally alkaline pH is most likely what gives Waiākea its very slight “hint of sweet” aftertaste that loyal Waiākea drinkers praise it for.

These four qualities affect all water but distinguish only a few. Waiākea's remote location and pure water source set it apart and are as beneficial to its drinkers' health as to their tastebuds.